Welcome to the Zwanziger Lab

Greetings! We are diverse materials science lab at Dalhousie University. The lab director, Professor Josef Zwanziger, holds appointments in both the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Sciences, and is very active in the Institute for Research in Materials.

We are on the DREAMS team!

Our lab is part of the DREAMS--Dalhousie Research in Energy, Advanced Materials and Sustainability--program. This is a $1.65 million NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program, aimed primarily at supporting a cohort of research trainees who will address important aspects of energy production/storage and sustainability. Researchers will play a pivotal role in renewable energy production and storage as well as the sustainable production of environmentally acceptable or re-usable materials. For more details about DREAMS, see irm.dal.ca/DREAMS.

Optical Glass and Photoelasticity

Stress on glass, both compressive and tensile, leads to birefringence. Such an effect is shown in the accompanying picture, showing several glass samples undergoing compressive stress and viewed through cross polars. We are working on the problem of designing zero stress optic glasses without the use of lead or other environmentally harmful additives, and have made much progress in this area.

Glass Structure and Crystallization

Another project in glass science involves study of glass structure as it relates to the mechanism of glass devitrification. This work is part of our NSERC-funded Inter-American Materials Collaboration.

Glass Strength

Recently we have become interested in the problem of producing stronger glass. This is an important area because current glass making technology is very energy intensive, and production is expected to rise world-wide due in part to the demands of solar power production. Stronger glass could require that less be melted, resulting in an overall environmental savings. We are studying the structural and atomic bonding problems surrounding glass stiffness and strength, with a variety of microscopic and macroscopic methods.

Polymer Fibre-Toughened Concrete

Together with Polysteel Atlantic and Dean Forgeron in Dalhousie's Department of Civil Engineering, we are developing new materials for use concrete composites. The figure shows x-ray diffraction from a drawn polymer fibre.

Computation and Theory

We have a significant effort in computational and theoretical studies of solids. We develop code in the ABINIT project, a density functional theory approach to solids using pseudopotentials and a planewave basis. Our current work involves implementing the response to fields using the Projector Augmented Wave formalism. The picture shows the electron density in the Mott-Hubbard insulator LaTiO3, for which we could reproduce the nuclear quadrupole resonance spectra and study the orbital ordering.